In an old photograph, two young children posed as a young bride and groom. This month, the couple celebrated their 70th anniversary.
As young children, Eileen Campbell and Ronald Everest forged a friendship while playing together, the DerehamTimes reports.
The Campbell and Everest families had already been close; their fathers had met during the First World War while serving in the Royal Navy. Their mothers soon became friends and had a boy, Ron, and girl, Eileen, only 7 months apart. The children’s friendship would eventually develop into love and forge a permanent bond between the two families.
The iconic photograph of the couple was taken when at the age of four, the two friends were brought to a local carnival.
“Our parents decided to dress us as a bride and groom for the Gillingham Carnival,” recounted Mrs. Everest to the Times. Unbeknownst to the children at the time, this would be a role they would reprise nearly 17 years later.
The occasion would also be the last time Ron and Eileen would see each other for a number of years. Shortly thereafter, Eileen’s family moved from Gillingham to Greenwich, London.
A number of years passed. In 1936 at the age of 15, Ron joined the Navy. But, in 1940, according to Mrs. Everest, “When I was 18, I started work, and there was a telephone, and I really wanted to ring someone, but didn’t know anyone else to call. I asked my mother, and she suggested her friend Gertrude who ran a shop and post office. I rang her up and, of course, it was Ron’s mother. She came over to visit me, without Ron at first, and then he came later.”
Ron told the newspaper that he was originally nervous to court the now beautiful young woman. But, he started writing to her and eventually raised the nerve to ask her out.
“I still have that letter,” said Mrs. Everest.
Soon after, the couple became engaged. But the couple could not yet marry, because in 1941, Ron was sent overseas and spent two years away from home. Their main source of communication was letters, which arrived only every few weeks.
Five days after Ron arrived home from the Navy in June 1943, he and Eileen exchanged vows.
On June 12, 2013, the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
“It is quite an unusual story, especially these days,” said Mrs. Everest.
Reflecting on the success of the marriage, Ron, now a 91-year-old grandfather, humorously said, “We promised to love, honour and obey, and I did all the obeying.”